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The Xonar Essence STX Q/A, tweaking, impressions thread

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by telix, Apr 28, 2009.
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  1. Jonathan Crouch
    That would be the Burson Play with V6 op-amps. Mine's supposed to be shipping today.
  2. alphanumerix1
    Hi guys for those interested

    Review Burson Audio Supreme sound Opamp V6 vivid

    Thanks to Charles at SS-Audio for the trial units of the V6 vivid, I was sent these in return for my honest opinion.

    Equipment used:

    Asus essence stx

    Burson V6 vivid x 3

    Sennheiser hd600

    Audio technica ad900


    I'm in no way an audio professional as I am just a regular consumer who enjoys music. You could say I'm enthusiast but If you're after graphs and scientific findings this review will not be for you. I enjoy my music as we all do here and finding ways to improve that music is my and of course many of our goals.

    Enters Burson Audio, I have been aware of the company for quite some time now and they have always created interesting and well-regarded products in the audio community. So, when I heard that Burson Audio released their latest op-amp I was very interested to try and see what they are all about.

    I consume the majority of content on my desktop e.g. music, games etc. So easy ways to improve my audio experience that don't break the bank was always going to appeal to me as it would many a pc user.

    This is where the Burson Audio V6 comes in,

    Packaging: The V6 arrives in an unassuming padded envelope but it packed well and arrived without any issues.


    Installation: Very simple installation with the V6 and the Asus essence stx. Remove the Emi shield of the stx unplug the op amps and insert the V6. Plugging in the V6 you will notice they lean against the capacitors ever so slightly but this has not been an issue. For reference I'm using 3 v6s


    Sound: I have "burned in" the op amps for 150hours to satisfy those who believe in that and if you don't that’s fine too. I've heard that Burson Audio has recommended 100-150hours of burn in but not seen anything official on that so take that with a grain of salt. (Also, I'm coming from the stock op-amps that come with the asus essence stx)

    Bass – First thing I noticed with the bass was there is more punch/presence with better control and quality. Don't expect a large bump in bass but the improvement in the bass area is noticeable its reaches lower and comes through with more authority to my ears.

    Mids – Here I was greeted with fuller sounding natural vocals, slightly more forward vocals with better clarity.

    Treble – There is some extra sparkle in the higher registers nothing harsh or sibilant to my ears. I did notice more details/definition in the treble region but only slight changes.

    Soundstage – Probably the biggest difference I noticed was in soundstage, coming from the stock op amps there is a clear upgrade. I can hear better width and depth; the stage feels more atmospheric and lively with Improved placement of voices and instruments. I was very pleased in this department and this is where the improvements became more apparent.

    Summary: So, when I comes down to the nitty gritty would I recommend the Burson Audio V6. Short answer is yes. If you have a headphone with you pleased with and looking for the extra something from your source the v6 can be great option. Pros: Easy plug and play installation strong after sales support from Burson Audio and improvement in sound quality Cons: Size, price. With the pros outweighing the cons i can recommend the The Burson Audio V6 opamp without hesitation.
  3. Junglbob
    Hi guys, can you help me to choose please, I have now Asus Xonar Essence STX and Sennheiser HD650, I want to make a little upgrade, but don't know what is will better...
    1) I can buy Burson V6 Op Amp (x2) because I use only headphone out.
    2) I can buy Schiit Magni 3 for STX (and maybe in future buy Modi 2).
    I have not bad PSU in my PC > Thermaltake Toughpower 750W (W0117)

    In overall I like a sound STX, but need some improve bass, little bit more density, more clarity in sound, maybe wider scene.

    Waiting for your answer, Thanks!

    p.s. sorry for my english.
  4. r1sh
    Hi guys!

    Can anyone help me solving my problem. I'm choosing soundcard for gaming and choosing between Asus STX, Asus Phoebus and Titanium HD. Which will suit more and why?
  5. Jonathan Crouch
    If between these 3 the STX 2 (not the STX if you can avoid it.) If you want a sound card that literally has astounding quality that will pull out the finest details buy the Burson Play from Burson Audio.
    alphanumerix1 likes this.
  6. Rainmaker91
    I have to agree with Jonathan on this. The STX series is likely as good of a card as should get for placing inside your computer. Still, even at this price point I really have to ask why you are not going for a dedicated DAC? The STX is really good, but there are also really good DACs in the same price range as well. Still the STX is likely as expensive as I would ever get for a PCI-e card as anything above that price point is virtually useless compared to a dedicated DAC.
    The best option in my eyes is if possible to get a DAC with coax (if your board has digital coax out) as both USB and optical can be quite noisy (thgough there are filters for USB connections).

    But, yeah. Out of the ones listed the STX is a clear winner, and if you desperately need more than 2 channels then the STX daughter board would be a good option.
  7. r1sh
    i'mg going to use only headphones like ad700x \ hd 598 \ dt 770 (32ohm)

    Price for stx, tihd and phoebus is about $80-90 used in my country. I'm not shure that dedicated dac costs this low)
  8. Rainmaker91
    I see, I didn't know that you were getting it used. Still, you should look around for it as well since you are already looking for another audio card. The plus side is that a used dedicated DAC would be far less likely to have been damaged by stuff like static electricity and so on, the second people other than yourself is messing around with bare boards they could be doing who knows what and you wouldn't know it. It's one of the reasons I'm always sceptical at buying used computer hardware to start with, but audio equipment is usually better handled as it is more often than not just designed to be able to be handled by whomever (as long as the casing isn't opened).

    Anyway, some things to know about the STX. The drivers are not updated all that often, and I have experienced instabilities every now and then (it's been a while since that though). Still, the card is great and the audio is a lot better than anything else in the same price range that also uses PCI/PCI-e.

    As for the reasons to get the STX over the others, it's a pure audio focused card. There hasn't been any need for "gaming" cards since Vista was launched and effectively blocked hardware audio processing (Which is what Creative was known for), so the Phoebus is just a waste of money. The Titanium HD is just a card that I don't know anything about. It might be good, but I simply don't know. What I do know is that the STX (ver 1.0 in my case) is a terrific card that really still outshines any other internal cards I have tried (I haven't tried stuff much over that price range though). It also performs better in my opinion than the Dragonfly Red, but that is debatable. The plus side is that you can mess around with it and swap out the opamps and so on to your liking, or leave it as is if you don't want to (I still have mine fully stock, but the option is there).
  9. rvcjew
    I was contacted by Charles from Burson to compare the V6 Dual Opamp to the 3x V5 Dual's I currently have in my STX since 2016. I have also reviewed the V5i versus these as well: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/the...ressions-thread.421890/page-367#post_13216339

    First I would like to thank Charles for the opportunity to try new things.

    So the V5 compared to the Opamp's shipped with the STX I would say first off the sound stage is much wider, the Lows are less boomy and more defined but not at the cost of presence. Sub bass also is more detailed as well. The mids are less recessed and the detail in my opinion is night and day especially with female vocals. The highs became less harsh for me as well. Basically it seems to have made it less warm sounding and more neutral. It was my preferred way to use the RCA out on the STX for speakers. Headphone out gets these improvements as well but for that I normally use a NFB-11.

    Now for the V6 they made two types and I was given the Classic's so I can't speak for the Vivid's but the easy way to describe it is to compare it against the V5. I think the mids have been brought forward a little bit but they have more detail now and i'm hearing things on the STX that I can easily also pick out on the NFB-11 that I could not before for reference. The low is perhaps a little less but that one seems more placebo then anything, its pulling at straws there. The highs are more forward as well while not being harsh, I like this change. Overall the V6 Dual seems like a slightly warmer version of the V5 Dual with higher clarity in vocals and instrument separation is better as well.

    My conclusion is I will be sticking with the V6 over the V5 for the STX (can't stand the stock ones anymore since the stage is so close). I also have tested it in my Xduoo XD-05 but that will require some case modding (cutting a hole) before I can really test it as a portable solution but I like what I hear so far as it widened the stage and clarity of that amp as well.

    1.jpg 0401181936.jpg 0401181936a.jpg 0402181928.jpg 1210160153a.jpg 1210160154a.jpg 1210160158.jpg 1210160204a.jpg 1210160206c.jpg 1210160208c.jpg

    Items compared against:
    Sources: NFB-11 (2016 Ver), Xonar STX, ODAC Rev B, AQ Dragonfly v1.2, Nvidia Audio, XD-05
    Speakers: Loft 20, Loft 40, r-15m, SX6, SXC, SXS, Sub-1200
    Headphones: M1060V2, K7XX (1st Drop), M50, TH-X00, IE80, M300, PORTA PRO, KSC75
    Amp: NFB-11, Objective 2, TX-NR525, XD-05

    Thanks again to Charles at Burson for reaching out to users for honest feedback.

    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018
  10. sumpao
    I am an gaming guy.
    I own this Asus Xonar Essense ST for around 3-5 year.
    I heard about Burson Op Amp from Head fi.

    Bought 3 pcs of Dual V6 vivid opamp from there site and take 5 days to arrive at my home

    I install the V6 Vivid and Wow it totally upgrade.

    First : Sound stage is quite expand. And it more lively
    Second : Dynamic is more musical sound. The stock opamp is ok but dynamic is not that clear. V.6 bring bass to my HD600 and more detail that ever.
    Third : Bass Bass is punchy and have more detail and power.

    I use this for HD600 and it matching very well. I play song. Play games and this combo work very good.
    I must say if you looking for an upgrade you should looking for this opamp.

    I have also use this sound card use as preamp + Marantz MM7025 to drive my book shelf spearker Elac B5.

    I work quite ok. The detail is there. I would say it way above my expectation. But man sound card is not quite goods as dedicated preamp right?[​IMG] [​IMG]
  11. mikerrr
    i had this card before 4 years and i had problems with the drivers
  12. rvcjew
    Do you still have the card and are saying your now having trouble with the drivers or looking for another card?
  13. mikerrr
    i had this card but now i am looking for new..
  14. PurpleAngel Contributor
    The Essence STX card and a pre-amplifier are not really the same.
    So not sure why your say the sound card is not as good as a pre-amp?
  15. sumpao
    Sound card can act as preamp.
    Even nobody do that. But it can act like one.
    I use this card as preamp with marantz MM7025 and it can do thier job.
    result is ok but dedicate preamp is better
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